Great Britain's Ed McKeever won the first ever Olympic gold medal awarded in the men's single kayak 200 meters.
Gold medals also came Saturday for the Ukraine's Yuri Cheban, New Zealand's Lisa Carrington and Russians Yury Postrigay and Alexander Dyachenko.
McKeever, the former world champion, darted to his victory at Eton Dorney with a time of 36.246 seconds in his first Olympic final, then said winning was "kind of a relief."
"It sounds kind of stupid, but not elation or all those other things -- more relief. And I'm just so happy I could do it in front of the home crowd," he said.
"This morning I woke up at 5:00 and I was like a kid at Christmas, just waiting to open his presents -- and I'm going to go and get my present in a minute."
Spain's Saul Craviotto Rivero, a gold medalist in the double kayak 500 meters at the Beijing Olympics, finished .294 seconds behind for the silver and Canada's Mark de Jonge earned the bronze.
The 200-meter men's races replaced 500-meter events from previous games, while women's 200m kayak is making its Olympic debut.
Cheban raced out to a lead and won the inaugural men's single canoe 200 meters in 42.291 seconds -- a half-second faster than Lithuania's Jevgenij Shuklin. Russia's Ivan Shtyl took the bronze.
Carrington won the women's single kayak 200 meters in 44.638 seconds, beating multiple medalist Inna Osypenko-Radomska of the Ukraine by .415 seconds. Hungary's Natasa Douchev-Janics was third for the bronze.
Postrigay and Dyachenko won the last sprint event of the London Olympics, the men's double kayak 200 meters, in 33.507 seconds. Belarus' Raman Piatrushenka and Vadzim Makhneu were .759 seconds back for the silver and Britain's Liam Heath and Jon Schofield won bronze.